GYPSUM — Southeast of Saline girls went right at Minneapolis from the start and made the Lions pay, time and again.
With post players Molly Chitty and Keely Orr doing most of the damage inside, the Trojans steadily pulled away Friday night in their first game of the new year, rolling to a 53-32 North Central Activities Association victory in the Southeast gym.
"We saw that they would be a smaller team, and one of their big girls (Kylie Fuller) who was hurt," said Chitty, who scored all of her game-high 14 points from close range. "Without her, it really helped us get the ball inside and dominating."
The Trojans (5-1, 2-1 NCAA) took full advantage, shooting 58.8 percent on the way to a 24-14 halftime lead and finished at 55 percent.
"We've been working a lot on our shooting," said Chitty, who was 7 of 8 from the floor and also helped Southeast to a 33-25 rebounding advantage with 10. "We had no school today but we still came out and shot for an hour, just to make it seem like a normal (game) day.
"Rebounding has been a weakness for us in the past, but we've got a little more size this year."
The Trojans never trailed after Minneapolis scored the game's first basket, reeling off six straight points on a pair of Orr inside baskets and Meredith Tillberg's driving layup. They then finished the half with an 8-2 run to lead 24-14 at the break.
"We knew we had a size advantage so that was kind of our go-to tonight," Southeast coach Shauna Smith said. "The first quarter was kind of rough with a few turnovers, but overall our scoring was pretty balanced."
In addition to Chitty and Orr, who finished with 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting, the Trojans got 11 from freshman guard Karsyn Schlesener, who had nine in the second half.
"Karsyn really helps us move the ball and getting into the lane to draw the defense," Chitty said.
While most of their scoring came inside, the Trojans knocked down 2 of 5 from 3-point range were 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. The only negative was 22 turnovers, but 14 of them came in the first half.
"You expect that, because we hadn't been in school for two weeks," Smith said. "And we're trying to play faster this year."
For Minneapolis (3-5, 1-4), Karisma Vignery had 14 points and Courtney Forte 10 with six rebounds.
Minneapolis boys 48,
SE Saline 41 (OT)
Southeast, still looking for its first victory, rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half to force overtime and even had a chance at a game winner at the end of regulation.
Minneapolis (6-2, 4-1) took command in the overtime, scoring the last seven points. Jonah Ausherman's layup with 2:25 left broke a 41-41 tie and the Lions hit 5 of 6 free throws close it out.
"We missed free throws down the stretch last year and this year we made them," Minneapolis coach John Darrow said. "We got a couple of layups at the start of the overtime and got the momentum.
"That's the difference between playing juniors and seniors this year and last year playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores."
Southeast (0-6, 0-3) tied the game at 41-41 on two Nick Montgomery free throws with 2:51 left in the overtime, but the Trojans missed their last six shots and were 0 for 7 from the field in the extra period.
"The story of our game, in overtime, was one, we couldn't score the basketball and we made a couple of mistakes in our defensive rotations that left guys open," Southeast coach Bryson Flax said. "I thought we played well, but we just failed to score the basketball."
The Trojans nearly won the game in regulation, holding for a final shot with the score tied at 39. Montgomery scored on a spinning drive into the lane, but was whistled for traveling with 1.3 seconds left.
"From my angle it could have gone either way," Flax said. "We got the look we wanted and the guy we wanted to have it had it, and he made a play.
"He just took and extra (step)."
For Minneapolis Kaden Griffin led the way with 23 points and seven rebounds, with Kaden McCullick adding nine, including three overtime free throws. Montgomery had 16 points and Seth Eklund eight off the bench for Southeast.